[The Daily News, 14. und 25. Dezember 1868]

Eingeklebter Zeitungsausschnitt
Schließen
Icon dass Zeitungsausschnitt symbolisiert
Aus:
The Daily News. Nr. 7057, 14. Dezember 1868. S. 5.
Schließen
Icon dass Zitate symbolisiert

THE INMATES OF PROVINCIAL WORKHOUSES.

Dec 14 Anmerkung von Jenny Marx

An interesting return has lately been published, which exhibits the character of the classes confined in provincial workhouses. It relates to the able-bodied—or those who are considered able to maintain themselves, whatever their age may be—and to the sick and infirm, suffering from various disorders at every time of life. The number of able-bodied male adults is, however, the true index of the use to which workhouses were intended to be put, for the majority of able-bodied females consists of young women who go in to be confined, and of those who are unable to support their illegitimate children without relief. The number of able-bodied males—and be it observed that there is a general tendency on the part of officials to over-state their power to work—is about five per cent of the entire number of inmates. On the 1st of July, 1867, there were 226 workhouses without a single male able-bodied inmate; and even on the 1st of January, 1868, 118 workhouses were in the same case; whilst at the former date there were 251 more which had not more than five, and at the latter date 163. On the 1st of July 477 workhouses or 75 per cent of the whole number in the kingdom, had either no able-bodied male inmate, or less than five. In July there were 14 workhouses, many of them of considerable size, without an able-bodied inmate of either sex; and in January six workhouses, containing 565 inmates, were in the same state. At Chesterfield, 248 helpless people were without a single able-bodied person; and at Warrington there were 300 inmates, of whom one male and one female only were considered able to do a fair day’s work. Of adults in workhouses, an average of 75 per cent., at every period of the year, are quite unable to maintain themselves.

If we turn to the tables which represent the nature of the ailments from which the inmates suffer, we find only about 5 per cent of the entire number of inmates, or 7.5 per cent of the adult inmates generally, to be suffering from acute disease, other than syphilis and fever. Deducting the mean number of able-bodied inmates who may be supposed to have nothing the matter with them—7.7 per cent of the inmates suffer either from syphilis, fever, or acute disease—the remainder consists of children and persons laboring under chronic complaints and old age, of whom the latter constitute by far the larger part. These statistics abundantly prove that the character of the workhouse inmates has changed equally I the provinces as in London. Erected for the treatment of able paupers, they have practically become gigantic almshouses, in which the orphan and illegitimate children, the aged, sick and infirm, and imbeciles, are more or less permanently lodged.

But with respect to the sick it will be interesting to pursue the subject into somewhat further detail. And first, with respect to fever and zymotic disease, we observe that the Poor-law Board has been in the habit of insisting on the erection of separate fever wards in nearly every workhouse, involving a nurse and separate attendance for the sick. It appears from the returns from which we are quoting that this separate arrangement is, for the most part, and for all practical purposes, of little use, and might be much more economically managed by a fever hospital common to a very considerable district. Thus out of 634 workhouses no less than 434 had not a single case of fever or zymotic disease, and 121 more had less than three in each. Of the whole number of workhouses only thirty-one had more than ten cases in each. There was not a single case of zymotic disease in the workhouses in the countries of Bedford and Rutland. Two-thirds of the entire cases are to be found in 16 workhouses, nearly all of which were in densely populated and more or less unwholesome districts. It is probable that the workhouse in Liverpool is the chief fever hospital of the town, as it contained 68 cases in January and 107 in July. There were also numerous fever patients at Manchester, Preston, Portsea, Birmingham, Bristol, and Sunderland. In these cases it is only proper that the wards should be separated completely from the rest of the workhouse. But we believe that it is a waste of expenditure to insist that every little workhouse with less than 100 inmates should be provided in the same way. With respect to venereal disease, in summer and winter there is an average of 857 patients, of whom two-thirds are females. Here also the distribution is most unequal. Even in the winter, which is selected by many as a preferable time for treatment, there were 463 workhouses without a single patient. There was not one patient in the counties of Cornwall and Rutland; only one in six workhouses in Bedfordshire; only four in 17 workhouses in Suffolk; and only eight cases in 18 workhouses in Norfolk. In Wolverhampton, Lancashire, and Birmingham, the workhouses appear to be the Lock hospitals of the several districts, and contained 213 cases. No less than 344, or one-third of all the cases recorded, are to be found in thirteen workhouses. As it is most important that venereal disease should be treated in separate wards, it is obvious that a proper Lock hospital for each county or large town ought to be provided, and that the provision of separate wards in every workhouse is a most extravagant system. In many cases the separation of the patients amounts to solitary confinement; and in the returns before us there are 100 persons who have no companion labouring under the same disease.

Of the acute cases, which average about 5,000 in the various workhouses, three-fifths are to be found in 50 workhouses, 169 had not a single acute case under treatment, and 90 had only one. Liverpool workhouse stands conspicuously out as a hospital for the treatment of acute disease. On the 1st of January 735 acute cases were under treatment. Barton, Salford, and Chorlton stand next with 286,238, and 177 patients in each respectively, and then at a far off distance come Preston, Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Croydon with less than 50 patients each.

We now come to the classes which are more or less perfectly incompetent to maintain themselves. Of these the imbeciles must be noticed first. They vary very slightly in number, only a few being permitted to leave the workhouse during the summer season. They average about 3,700. There are 28 workhouses into which, apparently, they are not admitted, as none have been returned. Amongst these there are not more than 400 children, so that they constitute 7 per cent of the incompetent adult inmates.

The chronic sick and aged may be classed to-|13gether. They average about 9,339, and one-fifth more are to be found in winter than in July. They constitute one-fifth of the incompetent classes, and they all require medical treatment from time to time. One-third of the cases are on the medical books.

Lastly, there are the aged and infirm who require no medical treatment or only extra diet. They number 11,748 in the summer and 16,091 in the winter, showing that many of them are able under favourable circumstances to earn a living, and only seek the workhouse in the winter when the weather keeps them within doors. Lastly, an average of 31,516 are on the doctors’ books, a proportion largely increased by the necessity of entering pauper nurses and helpers in order to give them extra diet.

In conclusion, no return could more clearly demonstrate the insufficiency, and at the same time wasteful and extravagant arrangements, of the present system. Nothing more clearly demonstrates that there is need of a special medical department at the Poor-law Board. The return incontestably prove that a great saving would be effected by combining large areas for special purposes, as for the care of imbeciles, the treatment of fever and venereal disease, and above all for the management of the able-bodied class, who cannot be properly employed whilst they are associated with the mass of old age, sickness, chronic misery, and childhood, which is the more general characteristic of the present inmates.

Eingeklebter Zeitungsausschnitt
Schließen
Icon dass Zeitungsausschnitt symbolisiert
Aus:
The Daily News. Nr. 7067, 25. Dezember 1868. S. 6.
Schließen
Icon dass Zitate symbolisiert

DISTRESS IN SHADWELL.

Dec 25 Anmerkung von Jenny Marx

TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY NEWS.

SIR,—May we beg the aid of your powerful journal in an appeal to the generous British public? Shadwell is a very poor and suffering parish. The situation is unhealthy, and the tenements and habits of the poor are squalid. During the ensuing winter, we fear there will be among us much distress from probable frost and hard weather closing the docks, and thus throwing most of our labourers out of work. To meet this evil, we shall receive great assistance from the kind and considerate exertions of the guardians; but there are frequent instances of distress which can be relieved only by special local superintendence and succour; as e.g., by timely grants of coals, broth, and the more delicate nutriments. These, our long established local committee has been wont to furnish to all in need, irrespective of religious persuasion. Will you kindly aid us in procuring funds?—We are, &c.,

BRENCHLEY KINGSFORD, M. A., Rector of Shadwell.
HENRY SHEAFE KING,
THOMAS BARTON ROSE, Churchwardens.
To any of us contributions may be sent.

Eingeklebter Zeitungsausschnitt
Schließen
Icon dass Zeitungsausschnitt symbolisiert
Aus:
The Daily News. Nr. 7067, 25. Dezember 1868. S. 6.
Schließen
Icon dass Zitate symbolisiert

HOW THE POOR TENANTS OF THE LAMBETH PIGSTYES ARE FLEECED.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY NEWS.

SIR,—Having read of a tenant residing at Camberwell who refused to be swindled out of the taxes by his landlord, who, with others, had previously paid them under the compounding system, I find there are very many poor people in this parish who not only pay exorbitant rents, but in addition the entire rates. The landlord in Camberwell, however, appears to have met with his match, for the tenant tendered his tax receipt for rent. The landlord refused to accept it, and distrained upon the goods. The tenant then brought an action at the country court for damages and an illegal distress, and was awarded by Mr. Pitt Taylor 4l. and costs. In George’s-street, in this parish, a poor man has a coal-shed and three dilapidated rooms, for which he pays 50s. a month. He tells me it is as much as he can do to pay his rent, but nevertheless he must make up the rates too; if they are not paid, expenses are added. If the poor people really derived the least benefit it would not so much matter; but they do not. Since the abolition of compounding every tenant in Lambeth has had 4d., 6d. and even 1s. a week added to the already sufficiently high rent. Surely the Reform Act was never intended to grind the poor in this horrible manner. A poor woman in William-street, Lambeth, told me to-day that for four rooms, in the most deplorable state of filth and repair, she pays 7s. a week. Since February she has paid respectively 18s. 41/2d., 19s. 101/2d. and on the last occasion 17s. 3d. At another house they pay for two rooms 5s. 6d. a week in the same state of repair and the rates. At another abode in this street the landlord in addition to 7s. a week rent proposed that the tenant should pay another shilling a week if he (the landlord) benevolently paid the rate. And in High-street, not far from the manufactory of an eminent potter and a late M.P. for the borough, a poor old widow has resided and earned her bread by washing and turning a mangle for 35 years; the eminent gentleman, with all the solicitude of a guardian of such like people, in the first instance charged the woman 5s. 6d. for three rooms; then on the passing of the new act, 6s. 6d.; at last he told her he could not be bothered paying the taxes—she must pay 6s. and all the rates herself, which she is really quite unable to do; so her children have to make up the amount. Thus he profits not only an additional sixpence a week under the excuse of the taxes, but also to their full amount besides. When such people condescend to turn the grindstone for the poor, what can be expected from the half-educated pettifogging tradesmen who compose the vestry and the board of guardians? With regard to the workhouse. On last Friday a man applied for himself and family, in a state of the greatest destitution. He had two loaves doled out, and on these bread five human beings starved till Monday. But these two loaves, generously provided out of more than 67,000l. a year, appear rather to have whetted than appeased the appetites of these audacious paupers, for the man had the boldness to present himself again for relief—we never, as a rule, in this parish pamper paupers—two loaves were handed him, with the stern intimation that he need never apply again, as he would get nothing more. Why? In spite of so many indulgences, such as fat mutton, and a good deal of abuse, the poor people, somehow, do not take kindly to the “house.” Some say they would rather be drowned than go in. The diet, the pauper-nursing, accompanied by occasional doses of morphine to keep the patients quiet, the handling poor sick people get, all tend to make this national institution anything but attractive. Indeed, I am not certain whether the board of guardians could not be indicted for keeping a disorderly house, for it resembles a bear garden more than anything else.—I am, &c.,

A DISTRICT VISITOR.
St. Mary’s-the-Less, Lambeth.

Eingeklebter Zeitungsausschnitt
Schließen
Icon dass Zeitungsausschnitt symbolisiert
Aus:
The Daily News. Nr. 7066, 24. Dezember 1868. S. 4/5.
Schließen
Icon dass Zitate symbolisiert

[The Daily News, 24. Dezember 1868]

WHATEVER the weatherwise may say of the prospects of the winter, it needs no great wisdom to predict that for some portions of the community there are hard times at hand.

There is chronic distress in the East End of this metropolis, and a frost would be almost equivalent to famine among the labourers there. In Lancashire it seems that the effects of the cotton famine are not yet over, but that masters and men have now, after an interval of sunshine, to pass through the skirts of the storm. Short time in the cotton trade has been getting far too common as the winter has come on, and will, it appears, be far more common yet. Of 712 firms which answered a circular of the Cotton Spinners’ Association sixty per cent are already working short time, the average time of working being four and a half days in the week. Eighty-two per cent of the firms were so convinced that short time was inevitable that they expressed willingness to adopt it; and at a very large meeting of the trade held at the |14 Manchester Town-hall, on Tuesday, it was resolved to recommend it to the whole trade, and an unanimous resolution was passed pledging all present to run their mills only thirty hours a week during the months of January and February, on condition that one-half the trade came into the arrangement. That condition will probably be satisfied, for it is most obviously the interest of the manufacturers to limit production for a time. For two years past their profits have been growing less and less. One of the speakers at the meeting, Mr. R. HAWORTH, said that they had had two years of the most unprofitable and disheartening trade he had ever known; and Mr. B. WHITWORTH, M.P., said that he did not know a single foreign market which was returning a fair profit on the day’s prices in Manchester; and that if they did not at once limit production, “there” would be nothing but disaster through that “part of the country.” Mr. FISH, of Blackburn expressed a similar opinion. “In short time lay “their only chance of salvation for the next two “or three years;” and the Chairman of the meeting (Mr. W. M. PEARSON) described the question before the meeting as being “whether they would “drag on a miserable existence from day to day “which would dissipate all their hard earnings.” Of course we take even the grumblings of cotton spinners cum grano salis, as they themselves would take the grumblings of farmers. But when they tell us they are doing business at a loss, and give proof of their earnestness by resolving to reduce it by one-half at a stroke, we see every reason for believing them. A resolution for half time adopted by so large and influential meeting shows that a serious crisis has arrived in the great staple manufacture which has its headquarters at Manchester.

The resolution to work half time will throw a gloom over the Christmas holiday in all the manufacturing towns of Lancashire. Hitherto the chief loss occasioned by the bad condition of the market has fallen upon the manufacturers, now the work-people must consent to share it. This time, too, the fault of the bad situation does not lie at the doors of the manufacturers. It is not said that the markets of the world are full, and that they have made a winding-sheet for their trade by weaving more cotton cloth than would be needful to wrap up the planet itself. On the contrary, cotton goods are everywhere wanted, but they are wanted at a lower price than that at which Manchester can make them. There has been over production; not that more has been made than the world wants, but more than the world can buy at the price. The supply of the raw material is not equal to the demand. The cotton spinners have gone on spinning more than they could sell at a profit, and by doing so they have lowered the value of manufactured goods by oversupply, and raised the price of the raw cotton by over demand, and so have burned their candle at both ends till they have begun to burn their fingers. The price of cotton has gone up 3d. to 31/2d. a pound, but the price of manufactured goods has gone down. Mr. WHITWORTH said that in 1860, when cotton was 61/2d. a pound, he could get a higher price for shirtings than he can now get with cotton at 11d.; and if that statement is a fair representation of the condition of the trade, the least commercial reader can at once see that the loss on the manufacture must now be considerable, unless the profits in 1860 were enormous. It is obvious, too, that there is only one remedy for this state of things. If the mills go on spinning at their full rate, the balance between the cost of raw material and the value of goods will not only fail to right itself, but will get worse, till goods are worth less than the cotton they are made of, and the whole cost of manufacture is a dead loss to the manufacturers, and a crash comes from which it may take years to recover. Such a calamity was warded off once by a short time movement among the operatives, it can only be avoided now by a short time movement of the manufacturers. To diminish the supply of goods will be to diminish the demand for cotton; and while the one will rise in value the other will fall in price. The balance of trade may thus be restored, and it is estimated that two months of this self-denying ordinance will allow the supplies of cotton to accumulate sufficiently to lower the price, and to make the trade once more healthy and profitable.

The strange thing is, however, that this balance does not restore itself. That spinners should go on spinning at a loss, is one of the strange phenomena of Lancashire trade. Is this one aspect of English inability to understand when we are beaten? The Lancashire people are the most energetic portion of the nation. Their enterprise is wonderful. The vast fabrics which make their county look like a land of giants are so many monuments of their untiring energy. But, as Mr. WHITWORTH said, “there is no other trade “in the world which does not lessen “its production when the demand for the “manufactured article falls off.” The cotton spinner, on the contrary, goes on spinning, as though by some necessity of nature, till, like a silkworm, he is buried in his own products. One speaker probably let out a part of the secret when he said that he could not go on working his mill thirty hours a week if his neighbour was working sixty. A mutual agreement to limit production ought to be possible in such circumstances, and should it be arrived at, it will be the salvation of the Lancashire trade. To the workpeople it comes, unhappily, as a blessing in disguise. To them half-time means hard times; and hard times are doubly hard when they come in the hard season. It means half-pay during the two winter months; and though happily it does not mean a population half-clothed and half-fed, the feeding must be plain and clothing somewhat scanty, for there will be little to earn and many to keep. But the Lancashire people are sufficiently instructed in the laws of trade to take the hardship kindly. They know that it is not legislation which puts the burden on their backs, and they will take half-time for two months of winter as better than the risk of no work at all through the spring and the summer.

Inhalt:

  • Social cases. 1869